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UK Government provides funding to fill three million potholes

The UK Government has outlined plans to help fill more than three million potholes as part of a massive investment in the country’s local and major roads. Councils across England have been allocated £168m (US$286m) of funding from a dedicated Pothole Repair Fund. The new funding is on top of the extra £185m (US$315m) the government made available in March to help repair local roads damaged by this winter’s severe weather. As a condition of receiving the money, local authorities are required to publish monthly progress updates on how many potholes have been repaired. This is the latest in a series of announcements that will see more than £24bn (US$41bn) spent on England’s strategic road network between 2010 and 2021; the biggest investment in the country’s road network since the 1970s.

The Department for Transport (DfT) says a total of 148 authorities have applied for funding and all will receive a share. A greater share is being provided to a number of model authorities that were able to demonstrate best practice in highways maintenance, by investing in new technology and initiatives. They have brought in specialist machinery or set up dedicated crews, to help fix potholes or prevent them from appearing in the first place. The authorities that have demonstrated good practice include: Northamptonshire, which has set up systems to track pothole repairs in real-time, allowing it to coordinate work more effectively and make sure teams are deployed efficiently; Hampshire, which has extra pothole fixing equipment in place to make effective and speedy repairs and can also be converted to salt icy roads in winter; and Lancashire, which has done exemplary work forging links with other highways authorities, suppliers and contractors to allow it to tackle potholes more effectively and improve its wider program of highways maintenance.

All repair works have to be completed by the end of March 2015 and councils will need to publish quarterly updates, so that local residents can see how many potholes, or miles of resurfacing, has been undertaken in their area. UK Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said, “Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding announced today is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace. But it is only one part of a massive programme of investment to get our country up to speed as part of this Government’s long term economic plan. By building, repairing and renewing our key infrastructure we will ensure the future growth and prosperity of this country.”

June 20, 2014

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